Joliet to handle city manager search in-house
Megann Horstead | 8/22/2019, 10:21 p.m.
The city of Joliet is switching gears as it looks to fill a vacancy for city manager. In an 8-0 vote, the Joliet City Council decided to remove an agenda item dealing with recruitment through GovHR for the position. The recruitment firm, GovHR, notified the city the afternoon of Aug. 20 letting officials know it will no longer be involved in the city manager search process. “They withdrew as the consultant,” Interim City Manager Steve Jones said. Mayor Bob O’Dekirk said the city is back to square one. The permanent city manager position has been vacant since last year. Councilwoman Bettye Gavin brought up the idea of the city doing an in-house search for a city manager.
The city has conducted an in-house search for candidates in the past, officials said. Councilman Larry Hug asked if there is a concern about the process hurting the efforts of the city’s human resources department the way it could hurt the economic development department. Jones has expressed concern at public meetings in the past about the city manager search and how long it may take. Kathy Franson, director of human resources for the city, said her office can support the process. Jones said he and Franson have spoken about the viability of making an in-house search possible. The city intends to utilize some of the job boards that GovHR would have used.
Jones noted that two of the biggest differences of handling the process in-house is the city will have to handle the screening of candidates and spread the word about the vacancy. In a related development, the city is in the process of ironing out the job descriptions for interim city manager and city manager. Jones said it would help city staff in reviewing applications. O’Dekirk said he wants to set up a three council member committee to assist with the search process. That panel could include O’Dekirk, Councilwoman Jan Quillman and Councilman Mike Turk. Several city officials said they can support the mayor’s suggestion. Appointments will be made at the council’s next meeting.
Modified procedures for executive session minutes denied
The city rejected a change in procedure for the how it handles executive session minutes and verbatim transcript of minutes for certain closed session meetings held in May and June. In a 3-5 vote, the council rejected the modification. Had the city authorized it, the verbatim transcript of minutes would have been subject to attorney review prior to release to the public. At a recent public meeting, a majority of the council said they were in favor of modifying the procedures. O’Dekirk took issue with the fact that city officials did not stand by their word. In recent months, Hug brought up the idea of releasing minutes from closed session meetings. The council has been publicly divided dating back to June, at which point the duties of interim city manager were removed from corporation counsel Marty Shanahan. Voting no were Councilman Pat Mudron, Councilman Mike Turk, Councilman Don “Duck” Dickinson, Councilwoman Bettye Gavin and Councilwoman Sherry Reardon.